A little over a year ago i took on a new role at Grant Thornton as part of their Vibrant Economy team. One of the first projects I worked on was to set up an afternoon of challenger leadership and appreciative inquiry for our Public Sector Advisory team.
My brief was to organise a series of encounters with dynamic businesses, social enterprises and progressive leaders who are finding inspiring and innovative solutions to some of the big challenges facing Public Sector organisations.
One of those progressive leaders I met was Joshua Uwadiae. One year on we are friends and Josh is still an impressive force to be reckoned with. I wanted to share his story on being a mission driven entrepreneur and democratising fitness.
Some Friday inspiration for us all and a reminder that we are better together and when we do what we love.
My Story by Josh
I came from nothing, grew up entrenched in gang crime and was set on a pathway destined for death or imprisonment.
Today I can proudly say my life has changed. I’ve overcome the streets, learned a new way of life and am in pursuit of my ambition… I’m an entrepreneur — I want to succeed and my mission is to give people the best chance to succeed in their health and fitness journey, by democratising fitness – through doing it together.
So what helped me change?
Positive mentorship was what helped me change I had a pastor of a local church step in as a father figure and help guide me away from the streets and into a community of aspirational people surrounded by positive role models!
This is how the journey starts. I kicked off my career as an IT apprentice and worked my way within two years to IT Manager. I had a great start and it was all through hard work and getting a foot in the door with an apprenticeship.
I then started representing Apprenticeships alongside Microsoft and pushed the narrative that we could bridge the disparity between apprenticeships and university through making apprenticeships cool. I spoke in New York, Seattle and Brussels it was an incredible journey and I met some extremely inspiring young entrepreneurs along the way.
That’s where WeGym comes in, the brainchild of my personal fitness frustrations — I was never consistent with my fitness lifestyle until I buddied up with a guy from work. We went to the gym three times a week, I was having a blast and seeing the physical results I felt I desperately needed!
This was until, I left that job — changed gyms and was seemingly back to square one. Frankly I was surprised, surely after four months of building the right habits I would be capable of motivating myself!
It didn’t matter all that I had learned or gained, I was better with others than myself… So like everyone in the 21st century I hit up my good friend google “gym buddy in London “ all of the websites were unused and frankly useless.
At this point I had already quit my job and was working on a business, I frankly wasn’t enjoying (chapter for another day ) After much deliberation and watching a video by Richard Branson on I decided to solve my own problem and create a means to enable people to train together.
I’ve learned so much ( and wasted so much time) in my first year starting/running my first business~ 15 months to date. After receiving some saving grace advice (I was about to blindly apply for a loan) from a friend named Derrick.
I started researching and talking to people outside gyms, trying to validate my hypothesis do other people want this or am I the only one like this?
- Stanford University found just one phone call a week from a fitness partner can increase the amount you exercise by 78%.
- 97% of people who train with a buddy achieve their goals, as opposed to the 47% who succeed alone?
- We did a survey with 60 people and 33 people were keen for us to find them a buddy.
I was convinced and charged with enthusiasm to create an app which would help people find a gym buddy.We then pitched two and landed trials with two gyms who were kind enough to work with whilst we sorted ourselves out. We span up a mini website and had their members using the platform to chat which wasn’t a fantastic learning experience for us — we then used that education and evidence to seek investment and mentoring.April this year my co-founder were accepted onto the Ignite.io Accelerator program in Manchester and we had the support and financial backing to really take the business forward.
So this brings us up to today, What is WeGym?
We are rethinking the personal training experience.
- It’s too expensive (£50 ph average)
- It’s not social
- It’s intimidating
We are making it affordable, intimidation free and much more fun by doing it with a like minded group of 2–5 people, so our sessions start at £20 and become cheaper the more people that join!
Our philosophy is that fitness is first understanding consistency is key, being And it’s being comfortable knowing that the journey is endless. It’s always changing, as we change — it’s for life.
We are enabling people to make it a part of their lifestyle through making it Today I can proudly say my life has changed. I’ve overcome the streets, learned a new way of life and am in pursuit of my ambition…
You can sign up at wegym.co.uk or reach me at Josh@wegym.co.uk / 074326 14010
I’m an entrepreneur — I want to succeed and my mission is to give people the best chance to succeed in their health and fitness journey, by doing it together.both affordable and enjoyable — by connecting people together we give you both!